Protesters vow to pressure Japanese government to give up Henoko relocation
March 5, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the morning of March 5, over 80 people staged a sit-in protest and rally in front of Camp Schwab. Just one day before the rally, the government of Japan and the prefectural government of Okinawa reached a settlement for lawsuits filed over the plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, Nago.
The participants renewed their resolve to unite, on a peaceful morning when no construction vehicle was seen entering the base and there was not exclusion by riot police. They said, “We will not bow to the government. Becoming single-minded, we will fight to win the relinquishment of the Henoko relocation plan.”
On this day, no ships were employed by the Okinawa Defense Bureau on the sea of Oura Bay, where the government was moving forward with the work that included a drilling survey to build a new U.S. airfield.
A citizens’ group sent a protest ship near to the planned construction site in order to watch any movements. A protester said, “The government should withdraw immediately everything for the work, including work ships, cranes, equipment, materials and buoys and an oil contamination prevention sheet placed on the sea.”
Protesters at the rally in front of the Camp Schwab gate stated that they had to exercise vigilance against the construction.
A protester said, “The government has gone ahead with construction work so far. We should block the construction vehicles to enter the base.” He added, “All things, including iron and barbed wire, should be removed from in front of the base. We demand the prefectural police officers and the private security company’s guards leave here.”
Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine took part in the sit-in- protest for about one hour from 10:00 a.m.
The mayor said, “The settlement was a compromise, but the future is unclear. Let’s continue fighting without losing our focus.”
He added, “We breathe easy because we could suspend the construction. At least the citizens, who have staged protest action from early morning every day, can have a peaceful morning. I have had heartache thinking about these people who are exposed to a hard situation physically and mentally every day.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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